Erect perennial from a deep root, glabrous to villous, 3-10 dm, usually simple below, umbellately or paniculately branched above; lvs not ciliate, the cauline ones alternate, linear to elliptic, 3-6 cm, those subtending the primary branches similar, whorled, those of the infl smaller and often opposite; involucres numerous, forming a corymbiform or paniculiform cyme to 3 dm wide; pedicels, except a few lower ones, less than 1 cm; appendages white (green), conspicuous, ovate or oblong to obovate or rhombic, commonly longer than wide, 1.5-4 mm; seeds ovoid; 2n=28. Dry woods and old fields in the e., in the w. abundant on prairies; Mass. and N.H. to Minn., s. to Fla. and Tex. June-Sept. (Tithymalopsis c.) Two confluent geographic vars:
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Infrequent but well distributed throughout the state, being more common in the lake and prairie areas. It prefers a dry sandy soil and is very rarely found in wet situations. It is found in open woodland and fallow fields and along roadsides and railroads. This species varies much as to pubescence and the width of the leaves which has induced authors to assign names to these variations. It is a perennial with a stout rootstock. It is frequently mowed off and killed above the ground by burning, especially along railroads. I have one specimen that has been repeatedly top-killed by burning; it has the crown of the rootstock much thickened and bearing many short pubescent stems. Plants that grow in very dry, exposed habitats or in very dry sand are usually more pubescent than those that grow in moister or shadier places.